For the 99 and 2000

93 degrees felt way different here than in New York. As I stepped outside into the Louisana sun for the first time, small but prominent beads of sweat emerged from the crook of my arm. And yet I wasn’t irritated. I accepted the sun’s rays even when my clothes dropped into a damp heap around my ankles from a short walk down Toulouse street for my second voodoo juice refill of the day.

Hack Bartholomew: an adorable old man with a pot belly and a Jesus baseball cap was my tableside entertainment as I enjoyed my $6 beignets and chicory roasted iced coffee. He played the trumpet and sang with such magnitude. He wasn’t like a typical seller of goods. He allowed people to look at the cd; engaged them in conversation even if they didn’t buy the cd. Of course I bought it. He told me that even “heathens love it” so he knew my nana would. “How great thou art” is my favorite gospel song and he played the trumpet and I sang along with him.

NOLA wasn’t like Paris. It was as if time slowed down just so I could savor every last second of this trip. I floated along with time; unbothered and unworried about when it came time for me to leave, maybe because my soul knows it’ll be back.

Big NOLA and friends: My last night in New Orleans I spent was spent on Frenchman street. I met a catdaddy who told me he would take care of me and what ever I wanted I could have (my morals are blocking my blessings tbh). I got to the reggae club a little early so I made friends with a bartender. He kept calling me Lil Brooklyn so I’ll call him Big NOLA. Big Nola had a full beard and a warm smile. He discussed underground rap and where the best place would be for me to find weed. He showed me by going to the back, asking for my hand and dropping at least five nuggets into my hand. FOR.THE.FREE. (Of course I smelled it first to make sure it wasn’t laced.) Then my next problem was finding a lighter to get rid of it. Let’s just say I made some MORE friends. I then went home in a $6 taxi that took me from the lounge to the closest po boy shop to my hotel. Let me just stop here and send a shoutout to that southern hospitality. Because that man stood outside of the po boy shop until I got my sandwich, opened the door helped my drunk ass into the cab and out of it again.

Where New York feels like ambition and rushing to get to the next step, New Orleans knows it’s got things to tend to but there isn’t any rush because there are twenty four whole hours in the day and that’s plenty to work with. New York’s word is ambition. Paris is love and New Orleans is Soul. Everything had passion and spirit. The street artists. The musicans. The restaurants. Even the street hustlers. They all believed so fervently in what it was they were doing.

The twins: so after I got back to the hotel I needed to finish the rest of the weed and my po boy. I also needed to take advantage of the pool one last time before I left, it was so damn beautiful I couldn’t just leave without some more reflection time. Of course I broke my bowl in the process. Not one to waste, I tried and failed miserably at trying to smoke with the broken front half with matches that I could seem to keep lit enough to burn. I asked for a lighter and ended up getting access to an angel in a wheelchair’s bowl. He was with the twins Mike and Matt (who both had some sort of neurological disorder). At the moment we were trying to light up, a drunken polish man with a fire extinguisher busts through the courtyard. He compares me to Alicia Keys and asks me how I can impress him. I tell he can’t and he proceeds to set it off, getting in everyone’s eyes including Matt the twin. Matt the twin is clearly not with the shits because he starts to curse him out and goes to tell the concierge. The concierge promptly throws the Polish man out. Matt or Mike (I’m not sure at this point because I was very high and tipsy) then goes about the task of making sure that I’m ok. They then tell me that they rap and I get into my second deep discussion about underground rap for the evening and how Fetty Wap was the next big thing. One of them then told me that I was “the prettiest girl they ever spoke to and asked for a selfie. But then they wanted to keep in touch and I did what I had been doing this whole time: gave them DR CANT SPEAK’s phone number.

Cubs the poet: After my wine conference pre game, I went for my voodoo juice refill. It’s very easy to get lost walking around the French Quarter. I deviated from my usual route to my hotel. I promised I would stay as far as possible from the rowdiness of Bourbon st. It reminded me way too much of 42nd st where I work. Sitting in the middle of the street there was a bearded man in shorts with an old school green typewriter. Cubs the poet offered custom poems for $20. Of course I didn’t have my reading glasses on and my sunnies are tinted super dark so I was squinting at him and his sign. He asked why I was looking at him like that. I told him I couldn’t see. I wanted to buy a poem from him (support local art!) but I just used up all my cash. He told me that he’d write me one anyway and asked me what I wanted it to be about. Of course I wanted it to be about love. “I can always use more love” This is what he wrote:

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Here I was. I slept in a king sized bed. The hotel pool was lined with small trees and ever-flowing fountains and angelic statues that keep a watchful eye over me as I smoked and floated in the moonlit water. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be able to finally visit the place that was calling my name. Of course I felt that typical tinge of loneliness ; the you should be here part of the song and dance that keeps me on edge everyday of my life… But I couldn’t feel sad. Not here. Everything is how its supposed to be and everything that will be is on its way.

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